Texas beer lovers may soon be drinking up to legislation that ends the state's prohibition on take-home beer sales at breweries. The Texas Craft Brewers Guild (TCBG) has been pushing the legislation since the start of the session, but the effort may have cleared its final hurdle last week, when the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas agreed to support the bill. The state's other distributor group, the Beer Alliance of Texas, signed off on the legislation earlier this year. Both groups had opposed the idea for years, arguing it would undermine the three-tier system of breweries, wholesalers and retailers by cutting out the wholesale level.
Supporters of the effort believe it is long overdue. "Shockingly, (Texas) is 44th in the nation for per capita number of breweries in the state," says Charles Vallhonrat, TCBG executive director. "Hopefully we're going to be able to change that now."
Vallhonrat credits TCBG members and public pressure for advancing the beer-to-go effort. "It's clearly a consumer desire, because we had a huge amount of grassroots support," he tells KTRH. "There was a lot of contact craft beer fans made with the Legislature, and I think the people in the Legislature then put a lot of pressure on the (distributor groups) to come to an agreement."
Ultimately, supporters of beer-to-go legislation were able to convince distributors that rather than undermine distribution, this will increase overall beer sales and production, and thus expand the industry as a whole. "Taking a couple of six-packs home (from the brewery) and sharing that with your friends, you're going to go look for that beer the next time you're out in a grocery store or a restaurant, and your friends are probably going to do the same thing," says Vallhonrat. "So there is upside for everyone involved."